Small business success has always required passion, hard work, and a bit of luck. In the digital era, however, it can also hinge on strong cybersecurity. Small businesses need to protect themselves from cyberattacks in order to keep their data — and funds and other digital assets — safe. Here’s a look at some of the biggest mistakes businesses make when it comes to cybersecurity:
Neglecting a Cohesive Cybersecurity Approach
Cybersecurity isn’t achieved through any one-step solution; it’s an ongoing, collaborative effort. One mistake or vulnerability can open up your whole company to attacks. This means that everyone in your business needs to be on the same page and have the same level of protection in order to keep your business’s data secure.
Since more companies have expanded work-from-home options, however, fewer and fewer businesses have the consistent net of protection necessary to ensure true cybersecurity. Attacks such as ransomware, for example, only need to find one vulnerable point in order to grind your business to a halt. To keep your business protected both near and far, connect with a data management security system that is well-versed in cyberthreats.The right management system will offer continuous monitoring for threats and vulnerabilities, and it will immediately engage if a threat is detected to stop everything in its tracks and to initiate recovery.
This is also why it’s so important to train each and every employee on good digital security practices. You need to be confident that your employees know, follow, and understand your company’s digital security rules. Clearly explain how practices like using strong passwords and avoiding the use of private email protect your company so employees take these rules seriously.
Finally, while it's desirable to use convenient tech solutions that save time for everyone in your business, you must ensure that whatever technology you implement is also secure. Time tracking software is a good example -- it's easy to use, lets you streamline schedules, and if it's an app, you can perform time tracking from any device. Just make sure that the solution you choose is safe to use as well, in order to keep everyone's information protected.
Assuming You’re Not a Target
Another major mistake many small businesses make is assuming that they’re not going to be a target for cyberattacks. It might surprise you to learn that almost half of small businesses were cyberattack victims last year. Although large enterprises might look like more attractive targets, they also tend to have far better cybersecurity. Criminals know that trying to attack these larger businesses is a losing game more often than not.
Smaller businesses do lead to smaller payouts, but they’re also easier to attack in the first place. Assuming you might be targeted and preparing appropriately is well worth the investment. Not only are you an easy target otherwise, but it’s far more likely to devastate your small business than it would a larger one. Without protection, cyberattacks can wipe out your business’s entire budget.
Overlooking Physical Security
We tend to assume that our data is only at risk when it comes to logging onto the internet or clicking suspicious links. However, your physical security is just as important as your digital security. Make sure your office space has sufficient systems in place to prevent break-ins and other forms of in-person theft. After all, all the great data practices in the world fall flat if someone steals your logged-in laptop while you step away from your desk.
In addition, think about who has access to your place of business. If you have keyholders among your staff, for example, be sure to change the locks when one of these employees leaves. Websites like Angi provide consumer-generated reviews, so you can find a nearby locksmith with a good reputation. You might also want to consider smart security options, especially if you have a home-based business. A motion-activated camera that sends feed to your phone, an alarm system, and/or security lights can provide some much needed protection.
This also means anticipating and preparing for accidents that can damage your computers and servers. For example, it’s best to do regular data backups and store those backups in a second location. If you keep them at your site and then the building burns down, then the backup is useless. You can use cloud services to store your data backups, but make sure you go with a proven and trusted company--and ask about how they protect their physical sites as well.
Strong cybersecurity is an ongoing process, and one your business needs to take seriously. These simple mistakes can cost you a ton of money and, in the worst-case scenario, your whole business. We hope this article inspires you to take smart measures to protect your company.
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Guest post by: http://economymom.com
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For small businesses looking to grow while keeping costs low, outsourcing is the perfect solution. According to research, 24% of small businesses choose to outsource to enhance efficiency. Additionally, as these workers are not permanent employees, it helps save significantly on hiring and training costs. For small business owners looking to outsource core business functionalities, this article RealOnlineCareer.com explores the various types of services they can look for.
Having an in-house IT expert can help solve day-to-day issues promptly. However, these experts often have an area of specialty beyond which you will need to seek other specialists to solve niche problems, leading to a loss of time and resources.
Choosing to outsource your IT requirements provides your round-the-clock support for all your technology-related problems. IT companies can provide a range of services like:
Hiring a full-time app development team can prove to be heavy on your pockets. A good alternative is to gather a team of talented freelancers who work directly under your control. These include:
For any business to be successful, it needs to have a strong digital presence. However, simply having a social profile is not enough, there are various methods that businesses need to experiment with to build their presence evenly across the digital spectrum. This includes social media management, SEO, E-commerce promotions, email marketing, and much more.
Hiring and managing individuals to handle each of these responsibilities will be tedious and expensive. To give your digital marketing activities the time and attention it needs, consider outsourcing them to an agency that can undertake all your marketing responsibilities.
In addition to outsourcing services, look to automate as many tasks as possible to improve your operational efficiency. Common functionalities you should consider automating are:
Payroll: As reported by QuickBooks, using payroll software makes the process of calculating withholdings, determining taxes, and paying HM Revenue and Customs streamlined. Additionally, it will make handling accounts and making payments to third-party vendors easier.
Inventory: Investing in reliable inventory management software can help you be efficient with your inventory on a tight budget. Through automation, you will reduce the risk of overselling, avoid excess stock and gain in-depth insights into your turnover rate.
Customer Management: Customer relationship management (CRM) software allows you to manage customer relationships to the best of your abilities. With a CRM, you can seamlessly share data among all teams leading to better sales strategies, improving marketing messaging, achieving faster reverts on queries, and increasing business efficiency.
Consider Overseas Workers
When weighing your options for outsourcing, don’t overlook the benefits of hiring overseas workers. By restricting yourself to US workers only, you limit the talent pool. And globally, there are plenty of workers with the skills you need. For example, Virtual Employee notes that countries like China, India and the Philippines are home to freelancers with just as much talent as their western peers, and often for more affordable rates.
If you’re uncertain about hiring overseas freelancers, simply stick to smaller projects that don’t cost as much. Just be sure to avoid choosing a freelancer based on their rate. Regardless of where a worker lives, you want to have confidence that they can provide you with the skills you’re looking for. Payments don’t have to be an obstacle either. Many overseas freelancers are happier with the option for wire transfer payments over bank transfers. Sites like Remitly offer easy and secure transactions to countries like India, where the recipient can often count on a better exchange rate, and receive their payment through their preferred provider.
When it comes to outsourcing core business tasks, you have a wealth of choices when it comes to finding the right workers. In addition to connecting you with experts in various fields, outsourcing the above tasks will allow you to scale your business while keeping the books balanced.
Guest post by: http://economymom.com
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The early days of startup development are the leanest. Outside funding is hard to come by for first-time entrepreneurs with an unproven idea and few entrepreneurs have the personal savings to support business ventures through trial and error.
Yet year after year, scrappy entrepreneurs make it happen. How? These are the startup budgeting tips that help cash-strapped entrepreneurs launch for less.
What’s in a startup budget?
A startup budget details what it costs to launch a business and get through the first few months.
How to save money on startup costs
Does expected revenue fall short of spending needs? To solve budget shortfalls, start by saving money on major startup expenses like these.
How to reduce startup operating expenses
When startup savings aren’t enough to balance the budget, look for ways to save on the ongoing costs of running a business.
Cash flow problems and funding gaps plague startups, but you don’t need a stockpile of savings or a team of investors to make it through the early days of startup development. Use your startup budget to identify potential shortfalls and find ways to cut back without limiting startup growth. With smart financial management, you can persevere through early cash flow challenges and launch your business on a strong financial footing.
Ready to start a lucrative career working from home? Visit Work From Home Jobs to learn about job opportunities!
Guest post by: http://economymom.com
How much capital do you need, to get your startup launched successfully? There is actually no one answer to this question since it depends largely on the nature of your business. Some businesses, such as restaurants or brick-and-mortar retail stores typically require a significant amount of cash to start. While there are certainly ways to reduce startup costs for such businesses, it’s probably not ideal to try to wade into them if you have extremely limited funds. This should not dissuade you from the idea of starting a business, however. It may simply require you to reevaluate your ideas about the kind of business you’re going to afford.
Work From Home Jobs shares the following guidance for new entrepreneurs who don’t have a lot of startup capital.
How to keep startup costs low.
Try not to run through your capital or dig yourself into debt before you’ve even gone live!
How to raise funds for your business.
Before you start fundraising, you should write up a detailed business plan, so when you apply for a loan or grant, or talk to an investor, you can show your blueprint for how your company will succeed.
How to run a business on a tight budget.
If you don’t have a lot of extra padding, it’s incredibly important to minimize costs and maximize profitability, at every step of the way.
Remember, even if you are starting small, this is just the beginning. Get off to a good start with low expenses and a healthy cash flow, and your business will be growing in no time. This will position you to secure the funds you need to take your company to the next step.
Guest post by: http://economymom.com/
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The e-commerce market is booming and there’s no better time to sell goods and services online, especially as more and more consumers choose to buy their clothing, furniture, groceries, cosmetics, and other essentials over the internet rather than in stores. And fortunately for entrepreneurs, starting an e-commerce business is typically faster and cheaper than launching a brick-and-mortar store.
If you’re a young entrepreneur who’s interested in launching an e-commerce business for the first time, this guide is for you. You’ll learn how to choose your e-commerce niche, get your online business up and running, and market your products to your target customers.
Choose Your E-Commerce Niche
If you’re new to e-commerce, these resources will teach you the basics.
Launch Your E-Commerce Store
Once you’ve chosen your niche, you’ll be ready to source your products and get your e-commerce business off the ground.
Market Your Goods and Services
Here are some tips and strategies for marketing your goods and services to your target market.
Compared to brick and mortar stores, e-commerce businesses typically take less time to launch — and they’re a lot less expensive as well. Plus, e-commerce businesses make it possible to reach customers from nearly anywhere in the world — especially if you market your products across multiple social media platforms and optimize your online store for search engines.
And better yet, you don’t have to be an experienced entrepreneur to launch a successful e-commerce store. These resources will help you to launch an online store no matter your age or entrepreneurial experience!
Guest post by http://economymom.com
Technology is an inescapable part of our world today, especially when it comes to running a successful business. Gone are the days when paper and pencil did your accounting and manila folders held your filing — software has made these activities easier, more efficient, and more organized.
As a small-business owner, you may think that the price tag on some of the best new tools puts these things out of your budget, but the fact of the matter is: If you don’t invest some money on technology now, it will be to your detriment in the long run. In other words, the capital spent now is worth the operational savings in the long term. Read on for some ideas from RealOnlineCareer.com.
Computer-based training software is one of those things that can be extremely effective at improving customer service, saving money on training (as opposed to in-person lessons, since you don’t have to pay instructor fees or travel expenses), and improving employee engagement since they have full control over the learning process.
Certain training companies offer innovative ways for you to train your employees in a virtual, low-stakes setting so you can get them acclimated to your business practices without actually putting them in front of customers. As a result, businesses can improve customer satisfaction and increase revenue — because happy customers are repeat customers, and they tell their friends.
Website security tools
More than two-thirds of businesses with fewer than 1,000 employees have experienced a cyberattack, and small companies simply can’t afford to leave themselves vulnerable to these kinds of incidents. Companies need to protect themselves against malware attacks, phishing attempts, and ransomware incidents — and that means investing in tools that allow you to improve network security, as well as antivirus software that constantly monitors and protects your systems. Additionally, you should only purchase modems and routers that can help keep your information secure (read reviews and do research prior to buying one).
Online payroll services
Another thing you should consider investing in would be online software tools for payroll services. Having everything you need at your fingertips can make processes associated with payroll easier, more efficient, and more accurate, especially if you use a platform with automated activities — you won’t forget important parts of the payroll process like accurate tax filing and timely direct deposit. These tools may seem expensive but, in fact, payroll systems are some of the most affordable since they present a keen return on investment. You’re getting back time, energy, and productivity.
Payment methods that integrate with eCommerce solutions
Whether or not you intend to sell goods or services online, having a payment method that allows your customers to take advantage of digital funds is critical for staying up with the times. Using online payment methods like Google Checkout, 2Checkout, PayPal and more allow you to integrate with eCommerce platforms and give you the opportunity to improve your standing with customers by showing that you are willing to accommodate however they want to pay.
Bonus: Inventory management software
This tool allows you to track your product (and its material parts) throughout its lifecycle — from creation to sale and everything in between. Good inventory management tools also offer a way to forecast sales and help you get a hold of your supply chain without the hassle of a thousand spreadsheets — it’s all there in one single pane of visibility.
These are only a few of the solutions available to small-business owners looking to improve their relationship with technology and (most importantly) get the best ROI for their dollar.
RealOnlineCareer.com provides information and resources to help you start your own business, from freelancing to affiliate marketing. Visit the site to learn more!
Written by Guest Blogger: http://economymom.com
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